Queen Elizabeth marks 60 years on throne

Mon Feb 6, 2012 2:28pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Estelle Shirbon

LONDON (Reuters) - Sixty years after she ascended to the throne in an austere Britain still facing post-war rationing, Queen Elizabeth marked the milestone on Monday with a new website that showed just how much the world has changed during her reign.

The 25-year-old princess was on tour in Kenya when she became queen on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. She immediately flew back to Britain where she was welcomed by then Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The royal family has been through tumultuous times since then. Three of the queen's four children have divorced and every personal crisis has been dissected by world media.

The most extreme case was the 1997 death of Princess Diana, ex-wife of the queen's eldest son Prince Charles, a rare moment of mass unpopularity for the monarch who was criticized for not showing enough emotion amid a national outpouring of grief.

During her reign, the royal family has also repeatedly come under fire over its expensive lifestyle and the queen has had to give up some of her privileges, such as her beloved yacht Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997.

But over time, the monarch's restrained behavior and devotion to duty have endeared her to most Britons. She also benefited from the goodwill generated by the glamorous wedding of her grandson Prince William and Kate Middleton last year.

In typical low-key style, the 85-year-old queen spent Monday carrying out routine duties such as a school visit in the town of King's Lynn in eastern England, prompting one fan to tweet that it should be renamed "Queen's Lynn" for the occasion.

Four days of more lavish celebrations of her 60 years on the throne, known as the diamond jubilee, are scheduled for June when the weather will be warmer. These will include a 1,000-ship pageant on the River Thames and a concert at Buckingham Palace.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Queen Elizabeth smiles as she leaves after visiting the Town Hall in King's Lynn, in Norfolk, eastern England February 6, 2012. Today marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>